Safety is a challenging topic in the world of solo travel. As women, the factor of safety is rarely far from our minds. We want to inspire you to see the world and encourage you to explore with confidence. At the same time, assessing the realities and risks of traveling alone, especially as a woman, is an important thing to do.
The truth is that some areas of the globe are quite safe for a solo female traveler, and others come with a fair amount of challenge. We want to empower you to make informed decisions about traveling solo. Let’s open an honest conversation about safety as women who travel alone.
Here are our top safety tips for taking on the world solo.
We are sure you’ve heard this one since childhood, but for safety’s sake, let’s go over what it actually means.
- Keep your head up and stay aware of your surroundings.
- Know what time the sun sets and avoid walking home alone in the dark.
- Be aware of impairing substances like alcohol and never leave your beverage unattended.
- Walk with intention and avoid looking “lost.”
- Wear comfortable shoes.
These safety basics are to prepare, not scare. That said, they shouldn’t be overlooked, especially when you’re alone and abroad.
Know Before You Go
Before you book a trip, look into the cultural differences of your destination. Is it common for the locals there to see a woman traveling alone? Is it common for them to see a woman on her own at all? Not every part of the world shares the same attitude toward women. We won’t try and talk you in or out of visiting these places solo, but awareness is crucial.
Listen to your intuition. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts. When you’re traveling alone, you have the autonomy to make a new choice when something feels uneasy. Changing the situation can look like walking away, asking the nearest professional for help, changing direction or taking shelter in a public space.
Write it Down
It’s a good idea to physically write down a few things and keep them on your person at all times. This information will vary depending on your trip. If you are familiar with your destination or have known access to dependable Wifi, your list can be brief. If you are adventuring in a rural area with a language barrier, you may want more detailed information. In general, here’s what we recommend.
- The address of where you are staying (English translation).
- The address of where you are staying in the local language (not translated). Especially helpful if you end up in a taxi with a driver who doesn’t speak English.
- The phone number and address of your country’s embassy in your destination.
- Emergency phrases in the local language. Since they really are for emergencies, we suggest I am lost, I am hurt and I need help.
A great place to store this written information is inside your phone case! Concealed but accessible; we love this travel hack.
Spread Out Your Valuables
We aren’t talking about your dry shampoo (though we fully understand its value!). By valuables, we really mean the things that, if lost, would ruin your whole experience: passport, travel visas, ID, credit cards, cash and phone. Should the worst happen, you don’t want to have all these on your person at once. The solution is to spread them out between your suitcase, purse and pockets.
Don't keep your passport and ID in the same place. Think through your day and bring whichever one is more relevant to your activities. If you feel the need to keep both documents on you (a possibility in shared housing situations like hostels), keep one in your purse and the other on your person.
It’s also a good idea to separate your cash into smaller piles. Multiple, dispersed stacks of smaller bills will make transactions easy without drawing unwanted attention. Never expose a wad of cash in public.
Find a Landmark
Upon arrival, find a landmark that is close to where you are staying. For some, direction comes naturally and getting lost is an impossible task. For those of us who aren’t so lucky, memorizing a landmark can help you orient yourself. I am staying just north of the tall clock tower is key information that can get you home in a pinch.
Be sure to set up an international phone plan before you leave the country. Besides this, keep an eye on your cell battery. Running out of battery in your everyday life is annoying, but doing so abroad can be disastrous. Always travel with a portable charger or an adapter for international outlets (or both!). Keep your phone in airplane mode when not in use to avoid draining your battery.
Now that we’ve covered the most important thing, protecting yourself, we can talk about protecting your belongings. As always, Sherpani has your back (literally the case when you use our backpacks). As any travel or outdoor enthusiast will tell you, having good gear makes all the difference. That’s where Sherpani’s Anti-Theft Collection comes in.
The bags in the Anti-Theft collection are made to take you far. Designed for peace of mind during travel, these bags are the state-of-the-art way to secure your belongings. They include all of Sherpani’s staple Anti-Theft features: Locking zippers, ReturnMe tag, wire-loop chair lock, RFID protection, slash-proof bottom and slash-proof strap.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the Anti-Theft features.
Sherpani Anti-Theft bags feature two kinds of locking zippers: tunnel locks and a clip lock. The tunnel locks are located on the exterior pockets of the bag. They take a bit of practice, but once you get the hang of them, are easy to use. Simply pull the zipper tassel through the fabric loop and you’ve added a difference-making layer of protection to the pocket. The clip lock is a red hook, so it’s easy to see. It’s located in the main zipper compartment of the bag. You can use the clip to hold the main zipper in place, effectively locking your bag shut. Both zipper locks are designed to discourage theft. By adding a layer of difficulty to the zippers, your belongings are no longer an easy target.
The ReturnMe tag is a special feature perfectly suited for avid travelers. The tag lets you register your bag to a highly successful global network that functions as an international lost and found. Read more about ReturnMe tags.
Wire-Loop Chair Lock
We’ve all felt paranoid about hanging our bag off the back of a chair. Sherpani’s wire-loop chair lock is the solution! It offers an easy way to secure your bag to a chair. It takes only a few seconds to use, then you can dine in peace knowing that nobody can simply walk by and swipe your bag.
What is RFID? Well, it stands for “radio-frequency identification,” but that’s hardly an answer. RFID is the coveted technology that blocks the signals used during cyber theft. It’s true, the hackers of the world are now sophisticated enough to scan right through the material between them and your credit cards. With smartly placed RFID blocking along the front panel of each Anti-Theft bag, you can keep cyber theft at bay. (This is also a feature of the bags in Sherpani’s Essentials Collection, to protect your every day.)
Slash-proof fabric is not new. Most of the time, it is attained through internal wiring that adds to the bulk and weight of the bag. With functionality in mind, Sherpani’s proprietary wireless slash-proof strap is the only solution to security that doesn’t sacrifice comfort. There is also slash-proof material on the bottom of every Anti-Theft bag. This is to prevent petty theft in crowds where thieves are likely to try and slice open your bag from the bottom.
Carrying a Sherpani Anti-Theft bag will help you travel with confidence by keeping your belongings secure. Just remember at the end of the day, the thing that matters most to protect is yourself.
Save these safety tips and book that solo trip!
The world is waiting.